Force 5X

 

The Force 5X sets were exclusive to the Robotech Robolinks line. Force 5X consists of two large, eight-Blockman robot sets, Force 50 and Force 51. Each came with an instruction booklet and sticker sheet. The chrome pilots were moulded from creamy white plastic underneath the chrome finish, as were their other chrome parts.

 

Force 50 and Force 51 were intended for release in Japan as the D, or Drive series, but never saw release in the Combination Warrior Blockman line. The polystyrene trays for Force 50 and Force 51 are marked D-1 and D-2 respectively. Strangely, the Force 5X cockpit stickers are coded M-50 and M-51, possibly indicating that Japan was (i) planning to change the code letter from D for “Drive” to M for “Motor”; and (ii) that they may have been planning to align future numbering with the American sets. It is unknown whether the cockpit labels were requested specifically by Revell.

The main gimmick planned for Japan’s motor-driven series was that each set was to have a friction motor unit with large rubber-tyred wheels to propel it along a flat surface. Unfortunately, although the wheeled motor module was retained as the turbo Engine with rubber wheels in its exclusive Robotech Robolinks release, the actual friction motor function was neutered, meaning that the wheels simply spin as with any other wheeled part in the Blockman line. The wheels are on the one axle though, and so spin in tandem.

Force 50 and Force 51 come with several common parts: a basic cockpit  (larger than the C-0X ones) with blue windshield visor, two creamy white rocket exhausts, two creamy white dual-peg connectors, two black fists, two black foot modules, two hydraulic tubes in black rubber, and the two chrome pilots. Note that the creamy white Force 5X parts are a noticeably different shade from the white Force 4X. The black fists and black foot modules are slightly different to their Force 4X equivalents, and the black plastic used for Force 5X as a less glossy and more rubbery appearance.

 

Of the parts that differ between Force 50 and Force 51, the most noteworthy are the large missile-launching cannons that came with each set. Force 50 came with a large grey cannon with four creamy white missiles, whilst Force 51 came with a four-piece grey and creamy white cannon with four black missiles. These make impressive weapons for gestalts, especially the Force 50 cannon.

Force 50 and Force 51 each came with a different small black gun, however these guns were not unique to the Force 5X releases. Force 50 came with the A-11 small gun packaged with Force 10 and Force 20, whilst Force 51 came with the A-12 small gun packaged with Force 11 and Force 21.

Force 51 came with one large black super-robot cannon. This was a unique mould, rather than being drawn from the large black super-robot cannons included with the Force 4-X releases. Oddly, Force 50 did not receive an equivalent gun.

 

Two hydraulic tubes were packaged with each set. These were made of black rubber so that they were bendable. However, the tubes are highly breakable, due both to repeated bending as well as rubber deterioriation and increasing brittleness over time. These are the first parts to be broken or missing from a Force 5X set, and my advice would be to leave them in the package if you have them.

 

The Force 5X sets are perhaps the most common in the Robotech Robolinks line (especially Force 51 for some reason). This suggests that they either sold well at retail in 1985, or perhaps went to clearance during the end of the line and sold well then. Although boxed Force 5X sets appear frequently, the real challenge is finding complete sets, with the hydraulic tubes typically broken and the small guns easily misplaced.

 

Force 50 and Force 51 were included in the Revell ’85 sales catalogue. However, the stock photographs show a degree of lack of planning, as the parts are mixed across both Force 5X releases, and single-colour dark blue or red Blockman robots are used to build the vehicles, rather than the multi-coloured Blockman robots that were to be included in the Force 5X sets as released. The large cannon included with Force 50 is visible in the diorama on the promotional poster included with the Japanese A series releases.

 

Although France received a group of sets labelled the D System, these were actually a repackaging of the C-1X / Force 4X sets, and have no connection to the planned D series or Force 5X.

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